Diabetes mellitus refers to the condition of excess blood glucose. There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Excess blood glucose is normally cleared by the action of insulin, secreted by the pancreas. In Type 1 diabetes the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, resulting in insulin deficiency. In Type 2 diabetes, cells throughout the body become resistant to to the action of insulin. The pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome the resistance, leading to excess glucose in the blood stream. Excess abdominal fat and inactivity seem to be common factors in Type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes presents during pregnancy because the body produces hormones to sustain the pregnancy which make the cells more resistant to insulin.
After developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy, the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life increases. Studies have also shown that other risks for type 2 diabetes include mothers who deliver babies weighing more than nine pounds and women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
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